I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!
The most recent Wikileaks cables once again reminded us of the sleeping dragon, China. And more precisely, its interesting relationship with USA. So my last post for 2010 will be dedicated to China and USA.
To start with, I will quote a Wikileaks cable published by NY Times:
"The message delivered by the office, the person said, was that “in the past, a lot of /* Chinese */ officials worried that the Web could not be controlled.”
“But through the Google incident and other increased controls and surveillance, like real-name registration, they reached a conclusion: the Web is fundamentally controllable,” the person said." source ,
The Google incident was hacking of Google's servers in China and stealing their source code. Quite creepy statement, huh? Well, this is China we're talking about.
I make that distinction in the beginning, because in the quoted articles, China appears in many lights - economical, political, military. But above all, it's important to keep in mind what exactly is its social side. To remember when we talk about money, exactly how those money or products were produces. And by whom. Another useful article on the subject is: Suspicious Death Ignites Fury in China. It's about corruption in China and how some problems are solved with the "No man, no problem" strategy. Trough death, to be explicit. So this is China we're talking about. Not the spiritual China who gave us "Tao Te Ching" and Chinese medicine. Not the exotic and cosmopolitan China. But that China that everybody avoids to discuss and that made countries like Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Egypt and even more (see here) to boycott the Nobel prize for peace this year. And you'll see a lot of faces of that China in the articles below.
I'm not going to comment explicitly each and every article, just the common trend. A year ago, Chinese superiority was still kind of a public secret - everybody knew about it, but preferred to keep quite. This year, people start talking. And the picture they draw is far from nice. China hacking its way to US official Internet traffic (first article)? Such accidents simply do not happen. Re-routing classified documents trough your server is something serious. And the very fact that USA is not reacting, but merely questioning Chinese actions should tell you how serious the things are. Whether China did it as an act of aggression or only to see if it's doable doesn't matter. The truth is that China invest heavily in cyber-defense and you don't do that unless you have something on your mind. Especially when combined with the second article concerning the way Chinese army regards USA - as an enemy. I personally found that little bit odd - I knew about the propaganda, what I didn't know is that it was directed against USA. Because so far China left the impression of being militarily benevolent power - a country that is more interested in profit than in participating in wars. Not any more. From the second article it becomes quite clear that their army seriously hates USA. Maybe only time will show how this will develop, but clearly, such attitude without any serious reason behind it is quite scary. Not only for USA, but also for the whole world. We don't need another war. Nobody wins from wars, besides very few and very rich persons and corporations. And I wanted to believe that the world changed since the last big war.
The last 3 articles are on economics. The moral from all of them is that USA has serious problems with China in economics as well. And not only with them - in one of them it's said directly - USA is no longer in position to direct world's economics and to tell what's right and what's wrong. And that's quite serious statement.
As serious as it sounds, I think this is part of the normal dynamics of the power in our world. History shows us that when someone is weak, it's normal to expect someone to become strong. We can't fool ourselves that once the crisis is over, things will go back to "normal". They never will. At least, not in the old "normal". As for the new "normal", I sincerely hope that it will be for better. But considering the situation in China, that's also questionable. The good side is that not only China gets stronger but also Brazil and South America as a whole. I wish I could add Europe to the list, but for the moment, that's not the case. What's good about Europe is that being the biggest market on the world, it could mitigate some economical aggressions. What's bad is that in the whole cat-fight for power in Europe, it's hard to come up with common position and from there problems arise. If only the EU could act as one and to stand an inconvenient but useful for the world and Europe position, things would be much easier. But that's not going to happen any time soon. Or at least it appears so.
Well, I guess only time will show who the next BIG in Earth economics will be. Chinas sounds as the obvious next leader, but I still have my hope for Brazil. And I can only wish luck to their new President - Dilma Rousseff, to bring her country to the top. She's only half Bulgarian but she's a strong lady!
That's it folks. Have a great New Year's eve and also very successful and happy New 2011 Year. Enjoy!
- Report Looks at How China Meddled With the Internet
- U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s Military
- Currency Rift With China Exposes Shifting Clout
- Countries See Hazards in Free Flow of Capital
- As China Rolls Ahead, Fear Follows
Report Looks at How China Meddled With the InternetBy JOHN MARKOFF
November 17, 2010
An annual report to Congress touched off a round of speculation Wednesday about the motives of a small Chinese Internet service provider that briefly rerouted as much as 15 percent of the world’s Web traffic on two occasions last spring.
The report, by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, noted that the service provider, IDC China Telecommunication, broadcast inaccurate Web traffic routes for about 18 minutes on April 8. That information was then retransmitted by China’s state-owned China Telecommunications, effectively forcing data from the United States and other countries to pass through Chinese computer servers. A similar episode in March drew less attention.
The report said the move affected data traveling over both the government and military networks of the United States, including information from the Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the secretary of defense’s office, NASA, the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as from many American companies.
The incidents, which were widely reported when they occurred, were never explained, although Chinese engineering managers said that the routing errors were accidental.
The commission said it had no evidence that the misdirection was intentional. American computer network engineers who met with Chinese technicians visiting the United States at the time said they did not believe that the Chinese had given them a full description of what had happened.
While sensitive data such as e-mails and commercial transactions are generally encrypted before being transmitted, the Chinese government holds a copy of an encryption master key, and there was speculation that China might have used it to break the encryption on some of the misdirected Internet traffic.
There was also speculation that the rerouting might have been a test of a cyberweapon that could be used to disrupt the Internet during a crisis or a war.
U.S. Alarmed by Harsh Tone of China’s MilitaryBy MICHAEL WINES
October 11, 2010
BEIJING — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, in Vietnam on Monday for the first time since the two militaries suspended talks with each other last winter, calling for the two countries to prevent “mistrust, miscalculations and mistakes.”
His message seemed directed mainly at officers like Lt. Cmdr. Tony Cao of the Chinese Navy.
Days before Mr. Gates arrived in Asia, Commander Cao was aboard a frigate in the Yellow Sea, conducting China’s first war games with the Australian Navy, exercises to which, he noted pointedly, the Americans were not invited.
Nor are they likely to be, he told Australian journalists in slightly bent English, until “the United States stops selling the weapons to Taiwan and stopping spying us with the air or the surface.”
The Pentagon is worried that its increasingly tense relationship with the Chinese military owes itself in part to the rising leaders of Commander Cao’s generation, who, much more than the country’s military elders, view the United States as the enemy. Older Chinese officers remember a time, before the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 set relations back, when American and Chinese forces made common cause against the Soviet Union.
The younger officers have known only an anti-American ideology, which casts the United States as bent on thwarting China’s rise.
“All militaries need a straw man, a perceived enemy, for solidarity,” said Huang Jing, a scholar of China’s military and leadership at the National University of Singapore. “And as a young officer or soldier, you always take the strongest of straw men to maximize the effect. Chinese military men, from the soldiers and platoon captains all the way up to the army commanders, were always taught that America would be their enemy.”
The stakes have increased as China’s armed forces, once a fairly ragtag group, have become more capable and have taken on bigger tasks. The navy, the centerpiece of China’s military expansion, has added dozens of surface ships and submarines, and is widely reported to be building its first aircraft carrier. Last month’s Yellow Sea maneuvers with the Australian Navy are but the most recent in a series of Chinese military excursions to places as diverse as New Zealand, Britain and Spain.
China is also reported to be building an antiship ballistic missile base in southern China’s Guangdong Province, with missiles capable of reaching the Philippines and Vietnam. The base is regarded as an effort to enforce China’s territorial claims to vast areas of the South China Sea claimed by other nations, and to confront American aircraft carriers that now patrol the area unmolested.
Even improved Chinese forces do not have capacity or, analysts say, the intention, to fight a more able United States military. But their increasing range and ability, and the certainty that they will only become stronger, have prompted China to assert itself regionally and challenge American dominance in the Pacific.
That makes it crucial to help lower-level Chinese officers become more familiar with the Americans, experts say, before a chance encounter blossoms into a crisis.
The Chinese effectively suspended official military relations early this year after President Obama met with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader, and approved a $6.7 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which China regards as its territory. Since then, the Chinese military has bristled as the State Department has offered to mediate disputes between China and its neighbors over ownership of Pacific islands and valuable seabed mineral rights. And when the American Navy conducted war games with South Korea last month in the Yellow Sea, less than 400 miles from Beijing, younger Chinese officers detected an encroaching threat.source
Currency Rift With China Exposes Shifting Clout
By SEWELL CHAN October 10, 2010WASHINGTON —The divergence between the mounting anxieties over Chinese policy and the cautious official response was a striking display of the difficulty of securing international economic cooperation, two years after the financial crisis began.
Above all, officials say, the crisis has shifted influence from the richest powers toward Asia and Latin America, whose economies have weathered the recession much better than those of the United States, Europe and Japan.
“We have come to the end of a model where seven advanced economies can make decisions for the world without the emerging countries,” said one European official involved in the weekend talks. “Like it or not, we simply have to accept it.”
The debate over currency valuation is pivotal. World leaders broadly agree that for the global economy to be more stable, imbalances between creditor countries like China and Germany and debtor countries like the United States and Britain have to be fixed. Correcting those imbalances, some economists say, will help create jobs in the United States and reduce the threat of inflation and asset bubbles in China.
The shifting dynamics have most noticeably affected the United States, which pushed more forcefully than its counterparts for stronger pressure on China but has been unable to persuade them to stand with it at the forefront of the debate.
In general, the Europeans have taken a far more conciliatory line toward China.
Another factor is that the most dire part of the crisis has passed, and many countries are now more concerned with their own national economies and no longer feel the urgency act in concert.
Complicating the effort is a dispute between the United States and Europe over how to change board representation within the I.M.F. to give greater voice to the fast-growing economies that are propelling global growth. The Americans want emerging countries, especially China, to have more representation, and thus take on more responsibility. But Europe is reluctant to give up some of its positions on the board. And significantly, in the eyes of many countries, the United States has lost some of the standing it needs to shape global policy. Not only is Wall Street viewed by many as having initiated the world financial crisis, but also, a number of countries fear that policies by the Federal Reserve are pushing down the dollar’s value — the same kind of currency weakening for which the Obama administration has criticized China.
Countries See Hazards in Free Flow of Capital
As the leaders of the 20 major economic powers gather in Seoul, an increasing number of them have either imposed curbs or are in the process of doing so to slow the torrent of hot money into their markets.
Over the years, foreign capital flowing into emerging markets has played a crucial role in helping finance roads in India, factories in China and buyers of luxury cars in Brazil.
But as the sums have compounded and led to more market volatility, fast-growing countries have begun to worry that short-term investment will push up the value of their currencies, make their goods less competitive in the global market, and lead to asset bubbles that will be painful to deflate.
Once a core policy commandment of the so-called Washington consensus and held dear by the United States Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and global investment banks, the belief that unfettered capital flows are a boon for everyone — including the country on the receiving end — has been dealt a major blow.
Short-term investment is now increasingly viewed as something that needs to be controlled.
Still, the risk remains that as capital controls are adopted by more countries, a result will be a series of competitive devaluations, which could drive away overseas investors and lead to a rout of once-buoyant stock markets. Many countries are discussing additional steps because they fear that the Federal Reserve’s latest bid to revive the United States economy by pumping an additional $600 billion into the banking system will further weaken the dollar and send more money into fast-growing markets.
The latest restrictions are as various as taxes on bond and equity flows and extended rules on how quickly short-term capital may be repatriated.
Abandoning its earlier stand, the I.M.F. now recognizes capital controls as a viable policy tool. Likewise, the United States has expressed sympathy and support for the actions taken by countries with overvalued currencies, like Brazil.
As China Rolls Ahead, Fear FollowsBy DAVID BARBOZA December 12, 2010
For nearly two years, China’s turbocharged economy has raced ahead with the aid of a huge government stimulus program and aggressive lending by state-run banks.
But a growing number of economists now worry that China — the world’s fastest growing economy and a pillar of strength during the global financial crisis — could be stalled next year by soaring inflation, mounting government debt and asset bubbles.
Two credit ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings, say China is still poised for growth, yet they have also recently warned about hidden risks in its banking system. Fitch even hinted at the possibility of another wave of nonperforming loans tied to the property market.
In the late 1990s and early this decade, the Chinese government was forced to bail out and recapitalize these same state-run banks because a soaring number of bad loans had left them nearly insolvent.
Those banks are much stronger now, after a series of record public stock offerings in recent years that have raised billions of dollars from global investors.
But last week, an analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland advised clients to hedge against the risk that a flood of cash into China, coupled with soaring inflation, could result in a “day of reckoning.”
A sharp slowdown in China, which is growing at an annual rate of about 10 percent, would be a serious blow to the global economy since China’s voracious demand for natural resources is helping to prop up growth in Asia and South America, even as the United States and the European Union struggle.
And because China is a major holder of United States Treasury debt and a major destination for American investment in recent years, any slowdown would also hurt American companies.
Aware of the risks, Beijing has moved recently to tame its domestic growth and rein in soaring food and housing prices by raising interest rates, tightening regulations on property sales and restricting lending.
Optimists say China has been adept at steering the right economic course over the last decade, ramping up growth when needed and tamping it down when things get too hot. But this time, Beijing is not just struggling with inflation, it is also trying to restructure its economy away from dependence on exports and toward domestic consumption in the hopes of creating more balanced and sustainable growth, analysts say.
China is also facing mounting international pressure to let its currency, the renminbi, rise in value.
Beijing is now under pressure to mop up excess liquidity after state banks went on a lending binge during the stimulus program that got under way in early 2009. Analysts say a large portion of that lending was diverted to speculate in the property market.
In addition to restricting lending at the big state banks, Beijing recently moved to close hundreds of underground banks and attempted to restrain local governments from borrowing to build huge infrastructure projects, some of which may be wasteful, according to analysts.
Some economists say the real solution is for Beijing to privatize more industries and let the market play a bigger role. After the financial crisis hit, the state assumed more control over the economy.
Now, state banks and big state-owned companies are reluctant to surrender control over industries where they have monopoly power, analysts say.
The report, which was released a few weeks ago, said that if growth slowed to 5 percent, the economies of many other Asian nations would suffer seriously. Steel, energy and manufacturing industries around the world would also be hard hit, it said.
Did you hear about Stuxnet, the computer worm that attacked Iran's centrifuges? I bet you did. It was on the news for a while. Then it stopped being there. Everyone got veeery quite about it. Obviously people stopped considering it so interesting. Wrong. Because it's extremely interesting, important and also dangerous. As you will find out from the articles that follow, whatever reason it was created for, it can attack all kind of industrial workstations, airlines included. And now that's bad. Because certainly you don't want airlines computers or nuclear power plants computers under the control of such virus. It's dangerous and it can pose serious threat for the national security of not one or two countries.
Why I say that? Because I got very mad on the reaction of Israeli politicians, which when asked if they created the virus smiled happily. What's funny about that, gentlemen? What's funny about unleashing a virus that can infect all kinds of installations causing troubles to millions if not billions of people? And if you did create it, why did you consider world's safety to be less important than your vendetta.
I don't care about the reasons of the hostility between Iran and Israel. Not in the case, at least. What I care, however, is people's lives. And I don't like it how some people turn out to be more important than other people. How some people think it's pretty cool to use such cybernukes when they cannot control that virus and they cannot guarantee that this virus won't get into the hands, won't get modified and won't lead to new terrorist threat. True, terrorists threats are good way to profit when you're on the top of the pyramid, but they are also very bad news when you're on the bottom of the same pyramid.
And I get badly pissed when I see people who don't give a damn about human lives and consider them as casualties. There is no such thing. You can be responsible only for the lives of people who chose to make you responsible for them. Everybody else isn't a casualty, but a murder. So no reason to smile, no reason to feel proud, the only thing you should feel is ashamed that you created something like this and then let it loose around the globe.
And I sincerely hope that all the random secret services will find a compromise and make a deal for our safety. Because that worm can do a lot of damage. And nobody wants that. Right?
- Worm Was Perfect for Sabotaging Centrifuges
- Stuxnet virus could target many industries
Worm Was Perfect for Sabotaging CentrifugesBy WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
November 18, 2010
Experts dissecting the computer worm suspected of being aimed at Iran’s nuclear program have determined that it was precisely calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control.
Their conclusion, while not definitive, begins to clear some of the fog around the Stuxnet worm, a malicious program detected earlier this year on computers, primarily in Iran but also India, Indonesia and other countries.
The paternity of the worm is still in dispute, but in recent weeks officials from Israel have broken into wide smiles when asked whether Israel was behind the attack, or knew who was. American officials have suggested it originated abroad.
The new forensic work narrows the range of targets and deciphers the worm’s plan of attack. Computer analysts say Stuxnet does its damage by making quick changes in the rotational speed of motors, shifting them rapidly up and down.
Changing the speed “sabotages the normal operation of the industrial control process,” Eric Chien, a researcher at the computer security company Symantec, wrote in a blog post.
Those fluctuations, nuclear analysts said in response to the report, are a recipe for disaster among the thousands of centrifuges spinning in Iran to enrich uranium, which can fuel reactors or bombs. Rapid changes can cause them to blow apart. Reports issued by international inspectors reveal that Iran has experienced many problems keeping its centrifuges running, with hundreds removed from active service since summer 2009.
Intelligence officials have said they believe that a series of covert programs are responsible for at least some of that decline. So when Iran reported earlier this year that it was battling the Stuxnet worm, many experts immediately suspected that it was a state-sponsored cyberattack. Until last week, analysts had said only that Stuxnet was designed to infect certain kinds of Siemens equipment used in a wide variety of industrial sites around the world.
But a study released Friday by Mr. Chien, Nicolas Falliere and Liam O. Murchu at Symantec, concluded that the program’s real target was to take over frequency converters, a type of power supply that changes its output frequency to control the speed of a motor.
The latest evidence does not prove Iran was the target, and there have been no confirmed reports of industrial damage linked to Stuxnet. Converters are used to control a number of different machines, including lathes, saws and turbines, and they can be found in gas pipelines and chemical plants. But converters are also essential for nuclear centrifuges.Meanwhile, the search for other clues in the Stuxnet program continues — and so do the theories about its origins.
Ralph Langner, a German expert in industrial control systems who has examined the program and who was the first to suggest that the Stuxnet worm may have been aimed at Iran, noted in late September that a file inside the code was named “Myrtus.” That could be read as an allusion to Esther, and he and others speculated it was a reference to the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.
Stuxnet virus could target many industriesNovember 17, 2010 By LOLITA C. BALDOR , Associated Press
The complex code is not only able to infiltrate and take over systems that control manufacturing and other critical operations, but it has even more sophisticated abilities to silently steal sensitive intellectual property data, experts said.
Dean Turner, director of the Global Intelligence Network at Symantec Corp., told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the "real-world implications of Stuxnet are beyond any threat we have seen in the past."
Analysts and government officials told the senators they remain unable to determine who launched the attack. But the design and performance of the code, and that the bulk of the attacks were in Iran, have fueled speculation that it targeted Iranian nuclear facilities.
Turner said there were 44,000 unique Stuxnet computer infections worldwide through last week, and 1,600 in the United States. Sixty percent of the infections were in Iran, including several employees' laptops at the Bushehr nuclear plant.
Iran has said it believes Stuxnet is part of a Western plot to sabotage its nuclear program, but experts see few signs of major damage at Iranian facilities.
A senior government official warned Wednesday that attackers can use information made public about the Stuxnet worm to develop variations targeting other industries, affecting the production of everything from chemicals to baby formula.
"This code can automatically enter a system, steal the formula for the product you are manufacturing, alter the ingredients being mixed in your product and indicate to the operator and your antivirus software that everything is functioning as expected," said Sean McGurk, acting director of Homeland Security's national cybersecurity operations center.
Stuxnet specifically targets businesses that use Windows operating software and a control system designed by Siemens AG. That combination, said McGurk, is used in many critical sectors, from automobile assembly to mixing products such as chemicals.
Turner added that the code's highly sophisticated structure and techniques also could mean that it is a one-in-a-decade occurrence. The virus is so complex and costly to develop "that a select few attackers would be capable of producing a similar threat," he said.
Experts said governments and industries can do much more to protect critical systems.
Today I had very exciting dream. In it, I was observing moving lights in the night sky, but ordered in very beautiful way. Then the lights separated and came to us. They made contact with us and even messed with the electricity of some buildings as if to test if they can do it.
Maybe my dream seems little bit random, but I had a very strong feeling after it, that's why I decided to dedicate this post to recent sightings of UFO. I started recording those news a week ago, so I decided to conclude them with my dream.
If you wonder why this is important, I don't know. I never believed completely to the reported sightings. I mean, if you're advanced civilization spying Earth, wouldn't you use stealth flying devices with their lights off? If you want only to observe, you'll avoid contact with humans and that's not so hard after all - we tend to ignore 90% of our surroundings. And if you do want to make contact, you'll do it directly. So I always doubted sightings (though I have no doubts to the existence or the presence of aliens, of course).
But then unidentified flying object is precisely that - unidentified. They could be extraterrestrial or very terrestrial. In which case, the correct question is what they are and why they are being hidden from the general public. I don't imply any conspiracy, but it's either the one or the other. Whichever it is, I think we all should know.
And actually, I'm looking forward to our first official contact with aliens. It's like a ray of hope that something could change in positive direction, after all the misery we're witnessing - for example the fiasco with WikiLeak's founder. And the complete mockery to freedom of speech or of freedom of media or even international law which it represents. As you could sense I'm kind of depressed, mostly because of the complete lack of good news these days. And since my dream brought me some joy, I share it with you.
So here's what I found:
Did you see that UFO over Maryland (14.12.2010) - pretty cool video, though it looked more like a plane without some lights. But it's quite interesting one.
Great balls of fire over Canada: NASA investigates
ONTREAL — Great balls of fire have been reported swooping over Eastern Canada and several U.S. states.
Even NASA's on the case.
There are different theories about what was behind the sighting of those fireballs. A NASA spacecraft got a closer look at one of the possible sources today.
The spacecraft flew past Hartley 2 -- taking closeup pictures after the comet made one of its closest passes by Earth this week.
But one expert is skeptical of reports that any fireballs came from Hartley -- which is roughly 1.2 kilometres wide and spews deadly cyanide gas.
Scientist Peter Brown says his meteor group at the University of Western Ontario tracked one of two fireballs while the other was tracked by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. source
Missile Mystery and More: Strange Sky SightingsAs The Military Investigates a Possible Missile Launch, a Look Back at Recent Mysteries in the SkyBy Gina Pace
(CBS) A possible missile launch off the coast of Southern California Monday is the latest in a string of incidents this year where people looked up and, well, had absolutely no idea what they were looking at.
As NORAD confirms that a video shot by CBS affiliate KCBS showing an object shooting over the sky and leaving a large contrail is "no threat to our nation," let's take a look back at events of the last year that left those gazing upwards scratching their heads:
On the afternoon of Oct. 13, silvery objects floating over the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan prompted a flood of calls to police and the FAA.
Experts later determined that the floating objects were most likely party balloons that escaped from an engagement party in Westchester County, north of the city.
Secret Robot Space Plane
In April, the United States Air Force's X-37B robotic space plane blasted off from Florida - but the mission remained a mystery.
The unmanned vehicle is expected to take months testing new spacecraft technologies.
The classified nature of the Air Force project caused some to speculate that it could signal the start of military operations in space, and that the plane could be used to transport weapons to shoot down enemy satellites.
UFOs Deactivated Nukes?
The sightings may have occurred years ago, but they got new life in September. In an unusual Washington press conference, UFO researcher Robert Hastings of Albuquerque, N.M., said more than 120 former service members had told him they'd seen unidentified flying objects near nuclear weapon storage and testing grounds.
At the National Press Club briefing, former Air Force personnel talked about the existence of UFOs and their ability to neutralize American and Russian nuclear missiles.
The U.S. Air Force ended its 22-year-long "Project Blue Book" investigation of UFO sightings after investigating 12,618 sightings; all but 701 were explained, and the reminder categorized as "unidentified" due to sketchy reports, a Pentagon spokesman said in 1997.
Sky Spiral in Norway
A failed Russian missile launch in December caused a spiral of white light visible in Norway that many citizens mistook for a UFO.
"It consisted initially of a green beam of light similar in color to the aurora with a mysterious rotating spiral at one end. This spiral then got bigger and bigger until it turned into a huge halo in the sky with the green beam extending down to Earth," Nick Banbury of Harstad told Spaceweather.com. . source
WikiLeaks documents are the top news of the week. Everyone is talking about an international diplomatic scandal. Some people even think that the owner of the site Julian Assange should be assassinated (?!?) because of the release.
I personally didn't find anything that scandalous about the documents released by WikiLeaks. True, there are some rather personal (and quite inadequate) descriptions of world leaders, but for me they are more a pathetic effort of ambassadors to make themselves useful, than anything else. After all, it's normal for every country to gather info on other countries be they friends or foes. This is not conspiracy, it's actually common sense. We all do that by following news that we're interested in and forming opinions based on what we hear. So far, I didn't find anything different than this in the WikiLeaks documents. Sure, the bad breath or narcissism statements are rather ridiculous. After all, who cares about world leaders love affairs or personal weaknesses? Even if they can be used to manipulate a leader, current world is a lot more complex than that. So I find this part of the information for useless even if somewhat intriguing. But I doubt anyone with realistic view on politics will be surprised by anything read in those documents. Or that they could be used against US security in any way.
What I find more worrying, however, is US reaction to that release in general and to the founder of the site in particular. They want him arrested on whatever charges? How about that? If you can't guard your own sensitive information, on what ground do you require the publisher to get in jail? After the first release, the founder were supposed to be arrested for rape. Then, it turned out that there aren't enough evidences for rape. Then suddenly, there were. Now, he is in UK (US ally) and still not arrested.
My first question is why should he be arrested? Did he steal the information? No. I don't think there are any doubts that he merely publishes the information. Why should he be held in charge for publishing this information if he didn't steal it? What BIG state secrets did he expose? And if he committed crime publishing secret documents, which I believe shouldn't be a crime at all, but if he did, then why he's not sued for that crime, but for "rape"?! Is this strange only to me? Isn't it humiliating for USA as a world power to sue people not for their actual crimes, but for something else?
I'm disgusted by people wanting Julian Assange to be assassinated. Why? On what grounds? Whose fault is not being able to keep secret documents secrets - of those who get billions and trillions to keep that secrecy and fail to, or of people who just used the situation? I'm equally disgusted by the easy with which people condemn someone to death, because of some virtual national security. As I see it, national security should revolve around physical security of US citizens. Not around keeping the good name of the nation!
Anyway, I think the whole situation leads to another bunch of questions.
We live in new time and new age. As always information is money, but now, there is another world power - people. And the whole issue with the so called national security is not that Iran will know what USA thinks of their nuclear program - they already do know! The real problem is that people will know it. The problem is that US government will be held accountable by US people for what they do. For all the money they spend on different projects that nobody knows and can find out. For all the money that are misspent on those projects.
The actual problem are the people. Because we live in globalized world, people can easily connect and even more easily revolt as recent events in Iran showed. If one person knows - you can keep him/her quite one way or another. If everybody knows, things get more complicated. And precisely this US authorities are trying to fight.
As you can read from the news that follow, this problem is very very serious in the eyes of the authorities. I'm not going to comment now on the desire to wiretap every Internet application. Of course, it's hard to imagine how USA will have jurisdiction over a product created in another country, that is downloaded and used in USA(but not sold) and how would USA punish a producer who denies to make that changes. But the biggest question is, why? Why is so important to hear, see and record every word. Will that prevent crime? No. Will it limit terrorism? Not at all. Then why? What are they so afraid of? Why freedom is so scary for them?
Anyway, what I got me the most worried in the news in this post is the fact that the US military looks for a way to chemically "degrade enemy performance and artificially overwhelm enemy cognitive capabilities". Shouldn't there be some international convention against this? If they can do that to the enemies, what will stop them to use it against their own citizens? Or other citizens. After all, once they can do it, they will do it when they decide they need it. What's the point in living in a free society if you're not free to be yourself?
I think mankind is going in a very wrong direction. The truth is that the more you limit individuals, the less progress you'll see. And without progress, there is only degradation. And the sooner we understand that, the better. I want the Earth to progress. How about you?
Essentially, the Air Force seeks technologies that can read airmen’s minds and then manipulate them: “to anticipate, find, fix, track, identify, and characterize human intent and physiological status anywhere and at anytime.”
The announcement also seeks applied biotechnology that could, for instance, develop special protein biomarkers that indicate an airman’s mission readiness, and gene expression methods that could improve that readiness. They even want technologies that can modulate an airman’s emotional state — it can include mind-altering drugs or biochemical pathway techniques. This works on the flip side, too: “Conversely, the chemical pathway area could include methods to degrade enemy performance and artificially overwhelm enemy cognitive capabilities,” the announcement says. source
U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet - "
Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.
Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.
The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally."
I don't get it exactly how US government would have jurisdiction over a software created somewhere else in the world but obviously they don't have a problem with this. Very very curious and scary.
F.B.I. Seeks Wider Wiretap Law for Web
Published: November 16, 2010WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, traveled to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to meet with top executives of several technology firms about a proposal to make it easier to wiretap Internet users.
Mr. Mueller and the F.B.I.’s general counsel, Valerie Caproni, were scheduled to meet with senior managers of several major companies, including Google and Facebook, according to several people familiar with the discussions. How Mr. Mueller’s proposal was received was not clear. source
WikiLeaks' 'insurance' file aimed at ensuring work goes on
Assange has warned that efforts to curtail his activities could trigger a deluge of national and commercial secrets.
"If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically," he said in a live chat with readers of the Guardian newspaper this week.
One reader asked if he was tempted to release the password for the encrypted file, but he did not respond to the question.
The Sunday Times said the U.S. Defense Department was unsure what was in the file, and computer experts said it was unlikely that the U.S. could defeat its encryption.
Assange is known to possess documents on a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians and Bank of America documents. It is not clear how WikiLeaks obtained the diplomatic documents, but the U.S. government's prime suspect is an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in custody on charges of leaking other classified documents to WikiLeaks.
Assange's website has been DDoS attack on WikiLeaks gathers strength and was forced to switch hosts after Amazon.com said WikiLeaks had violated terms of service. The site that provided WikiLeaks a domain name cut off service, saying it was being hit by sabotage attacks.
Some of the contingency plans were revealed Friday when WikiLeaks emerged with a Swiss address, WikiLeaks.ch, provided by the Swiss Pirate Party, which champions Internet freedom.
But on Sunday, the Swiss group that now supports the site said the website's main server in France had gone offline.
Denis Simonet of the Swiss Pirate Party said his group is currently redirecting the domain wikileaks.ch to another server based in Sweden.
He was unable to immediately say why the French server stopped working. And WikiLeaks lost a major source of revenue when the online payment service PayPal cut off its account used to collect donations, saying the website was engaged in illegal activity. source